Missiles Rain Down on Gaddafi as Operation Odyssey Dawn Begins
Col. Gaddafi starts to feel the heat as the UN sanctioned military action in Libya begins in earnest.
Yesterday Gaddafi declared to the worlds press that he had ordered a ceasefire. Today that appeared to be another ruse from one of the worlds canniest political operators as his troops continued to fight their way into the outskirts of Benghazi.
It didn’t take long for the politicians of the UN nations taking action to enforce UN resolution 1973, meeting in Paris today, to dismiss Gaddafi’s ceasefire as false and indicate that they were currently taking action against Gaddafi’s forces in Libya.
The first shots were fired by French planes flying over Libya against armoured vehicles, this was potentially a risky decision as at that point Gaddafi’s air defence system was fully intact.
Presumably, this was in part a political decision because the French have been driving this resolution and the US is taking care not to be seen as the main player.
After this first strike was carried out by the French, it appears that tomahawk missiles were launched immediately by the US fleet stationed in the Mediterranean, to knock out Gaddafi’s air defence system.
UK submarines also fired the same variety of tomahawk missiles attacking targets on the mainland but the number of these sophisticated missiles that the UK owns is tiny compared to the US.
Over 100 missiles have been launched so far attacking about 20 military installations on the mainland, according to the US defence spokesman, severely disabling the Libyan air defence systems enabling the implementation of the no-fly zone.
Spain and Canada are also sending military hardware, Italy have enabled the use of the their bases and although the Arab League backed the resolution it is unclear at the moment how they will be involved.
The situation is changing rapidly in the area and what happens next will depend largely on what move Gaddafi makes next.
Many in Libya fear that there will be a stalemate, with Gaddafi still in power with the country partitioned into two parts.
This could become a reality if Gaddafi does observe a ceasefire, but there are a couple of reasons that may mean this is unlikely. Gaddafi himself is not someone who likes to back down and the UN resolution is very broad and wide ranging in it’s remit, this potentially gives those backing it quite a long legal lead to help the rebel army if they decide that Gaddafi should not be allowed to stay.
Even the sight and sound of these missiles launching sends a shiver down the spine for those who are not used to it. See the video below from the US Navy.
Photo/Video: US Navy Official Imagery